Packing up and leaving your friends, family, and home behind is not an easy decision, but when the only relief to an illness is considered an illegal substance in many parts of the country, what choice do patients and parents of patients have?
The Travel Joint understands how difficult these circumstances can be and empathizes so much so that they started a program to help families of patients who need medical cannabis and don’t have access to it in their state.
The Cannabis Refugee Program was established by the Travel Joint to alleviate the financial burden of patients who need to focus on healing instead of the financial strain of relocating to a new state.
Since the launch of the program earlier this year, the Travel Joint has received a constant flow of applications from families seeking financial and emotional support to relocate. Unfortunately, not everyone is as sympathetic to the cause as the Travel Joint.
With 20ı5 coming to a close, the Cannabis Refugee Program has yet to relocate its first family due to roadblocks in funding. “We have over 80 applicants and we understand their needs,” says Travel Joint’s Rachel Zimbelman, “but we are basically creating resources that literally don’t exist right now.”
The Travel Joint initially anticipated a large amount of aid from outside businesses, but funding from the larger companies fell short during what should have been the non-profit’s first round of fundraising.
So until the Cannabis Refugee Program is up, running, and collecting funds, needy families will be forced to travel between their current home and nearby states where cannabis is legally recognized as a medicine.
“The problem in this, besides how expensive it is, is legality,” explains Zimbelman. “Right now, parents can’t transport the cannabis over state lines, so they have to keep going back and forth between states.”
While cannabis’ federally illegal status is wreaking havoc on the lives of patients and their families, the Travel Joint is exploring every fundraising option available. They have even investigated the possibility of raising money via a reality television show surrounding the lives of cannabis refugees during their relocation and transition.
The Cannabis Refugee Program plans to move its first family to Colorado by the end of the year. Zimbelman hopes for an increase in funding as more people come to understand the severity of the refugees’ struggles.
If you are interested in helping medical refugees,